MPs accuse Govt of fuelling 'anti-immigration prejudice'
The Government's failure to find accurate estimates of numbers of migrants coming to Britain to work fuelled "anti-immigration prejudice", MPs have said. The Home Affairs select committee said migrant numbers were "more a trickle than a flood".
The Government "totally rejects" claims it helped fuel anti-immigration feeling by not carrying out accurate research into the number of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants arriving in the UK this year.
A Home Office spokeswoman said:
We totally reject the Committee's suggestion that not attempting to forecast the number of Romanian and Bulgarians who might come to the UK after the expiry of transitional controls has led to 'anti-immigrant prejudice'.
Any such forecasts would have lacked all credibility - indeed, the failure of previous attempts to predict likely numbers of EU migrants in the past only contributed to the public's concern about uncontrolled immigration.
The Migration Advisory Committee said it would not have been sensible or helpful to make guesses ahead of January 1.
The influential Home Affairs Select Committee accused the Government of having a major part to play in developing "unnecessary anti-immigrant prejudice" against Romanian and Bulgarians coming to the UK for work.
Lead by Labour's Keith Vaz, a report from the Committee said the numbers of migrants from the two countries were "more a trickle than a flood".
Vaz, who emigrated to Britain when he was nine-years-old, said: "The Government's failure to commission an estimate of these numbers has led to unnecessary anti-immigrant prejudice and is a blot on our tolerant society.
"It is essential that for future enlargement of the EU the Government commission research on the impact of migration to the UK. If they do not do so, the Committee will."